Ahead of Merseyside Woman of The Year Awards this Friday, the current Merseyside Woman of the Year, Sue Connerty reflects on the past year and the opportunities that she has had since winning the title.
For me, there really is nothing more fitting than the fact that our city’s cultural theme for 2019 celebrates the women of the region. Never mind a season of extraordinary female artists, thinkers and leaders, this city has enough to last an eternity.
I didn’t really fully understand it until last year, but there is something very special about the women of Merseyside. We work hard, we put our heads down and we get things done. We’re not looking for praise or plaudits, we just want to make things that little bit better.
Last year I found myself as a finalist in the Merseyside Women of the Year (MWOTY) awards, for my work with the charity I founded, Walking With Giants Foundation. I started the charity to help the parents with children affected by a rare condition collectively known as Microcephalic Primordial Dwarfism (MPD), which is the condition my son Alex has.
It was a nomination that was completely unexpected and a simple gesture that has changed my life. That is no understatement. Just being considered for the award was an achievement – when my name was announced as the overall Merseyside Woman of the Year, I was in shock.
What had I done to deserve that accolade? What about the other amazing women in the room, who I felt deserved the award just as much as me?
I was proud though and I tried very hard to absorb what was going on. After all, that what awards are, isn’t it? An incredible moment of recognition and then a nice memento on the mantlepiece?
I guess that is where we’re different in Merseyside. It’s certainly where the Merseyside Women of the Year awards are different. Far from a sole moment of glory, it was just the beginning.
All of a sudden, I was suddenly part of a community of incredible and generous women. There were people like me, trying to make a difference out of a home office and high-flying female entrepreneurs and professionals too. They all welcomed me with open arms and have helped me to take the Foundation – and myself – to new heights.
The sisterhood in this city is unrivalled. It’s not a clique and there are no closed doors. There are just thousands of people (men included) who want to lift you up and ensure you shine. My year as MWOTY has seen me go places and do things that I never thought I’d do, from speaking on stages and radio shows, to being named a finalist in the Institute of Directors North West Awards, in the Third Sector category.
The MWOTY family – this brilliant, extended network of truly extraordinary people – that has helped me develop confidence in myself I didn’t know I had. In a few short weeks my tenure will as Merseyside Woman of the Year will come to an end. I will be very sorry to hand over the coveted title to the next Merseyside Woman of the Year, but I know that she has a wonderful year of help and support ahead.
The public vote has closed and on Friday 28th June 2019, the new Merseyside Woman of the Year for 2019 will be crowned. She, along with all the other category winners and runners up will be welcomed into the fold, along with those who support the event by attending, nominating and voting.
You see platforms like MWOTY and the other organisations that celebrate women in our region don’t just exist to champion the women of today. They’re creating a safe space and legacy for the female future of this city. As I’ve learned myself, when women support one another, incredible things happen.
– Sue Connerty, Merseyside Woman of the Year 2018
If you’d like to find out more about Merseyside Women of the Year, visit their website: merseysidewomenoftheyear.co.uk, follow them on Twitter via @MWOTY or Instagram via @mwoty_awards or like them on Facebook.